Will Nick Robertson be in the Leafs lineup on opening night?

I’ve gone back and forth in terms of what I think about Nick Robertson and what type of player he can be. For now though, I know what player he is. A fast, skilled and strong shooter who belongs in the NHL, not the AHL.
Here’s a video where I discuss my reasons behind this and what makes him more of a threat with the Leafs rather than the Marlies.
I hope you enjoy!

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The NHL Award season mercifully ends

I’ve often said the real winner of the NHL Awards is anyone who just wants as long as possible without hearing about the NHL Awards, so in that sense, today I feel like a winner. Hooray for me.
If you are a person who needs to see players from your favourite team validated with an individual award despite an underwhelming year for the team, then you’re probably an Oilers fan, and just rage clicking on any link on Oilersnation because you’re so furious that Leon Draisaitl wasn’t unanimous in the second place Hart votes. Or maybe you do care about this shit. Who am I to judge, I like lots of dumb shit too. Let’s look at how the Leafs did tonight.
What they won…

the nhl has named their first and second team all stars pic.twitter.com/DoZABR7pTW
— zach laing (@zjlaing) June 30, 2021

If you weren’t sure whether or not they voted on awards before or after the start of the playoffs, look no further than First All-Star Team Winger, Mitch Marner. Marner had one more point than Mikko Rantanen and Patrick Kane, that so that’s really all you need to …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Celebrating Hockey Women

On this International Women’s Day, I’ve asked some of the contributors to TheLeafsNation.com to celebrate some of the women in hockey that mean something to them. This day comes at a point where we are seeing nationally televised games of the PHWPA’s Dream Gap Tour, and the NWHL is announcing a return to play in order to award the Isobel Cup later this month. Additionally we are at the point where organizations like the Seattle Kraken and the Maple Leafs are bringing more women into their Hockey Ops departments than we’ve previously seen, and while it might not be anywhere close to the representation we’d like to see, there is no question the NHL is slowly acknowledging there are demographics they’ve excluded.
Here are some of the women we’d like to celebrate…
Kiana Scott by Tony Ferrari:
Kiana Scott became the first female scout in the OHL when the Erie Otters hired her to scout bantam players for the organization in March 2020. Amateur scouting can be often overlooked because it’s not out in the open for everyone to see. Especially at the OHL and bantam level, it generally involves long hours …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Staturday Weekly Column #12: There’s rain in the forecast for Toronto

Thus far in these weekly Staturday posts, I’ve focused on player-level stats. A new angle I’d like to take today is to look at team-level stats, to see just how good the Leafs have been this season.
I want to frame this post with two key questions that I aim to answer:

Are the Leafs secretly mediocre and hiding it with unsustainable shooting and goaltending results?
Where are they excelling and where are they failing?

Shot Attempts
Unlike quality player-level data, where Natural Stat Trick (NST) and Evolving-Hockey (E-H) are our the main resources available, there’s a bounty of websites that host team-level Corsi data of value. Adding to that tandem of stats sites, I’ll also be using Puck On Net (PON), Money Puck (MP) and HockeyReference (H-R) for today’s post.
If you’re new to these kinds of statistics, check out my primer.
This season, basic Corsi shot attempts look fairly bad for Toronto. From NST, at 5-on-5 and Even Strength, they’re 25th and 27th in the league respectively. That’s a quite ugly place to start, but also a very simple picture of what’s happening
One way we can add some …

Read More

Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Hockey: How it’s possible to lead the division and still have no confidence in this team

I’ve had the chance to get a good night’s sleep on last night’s game. It was necessary. For the first time in almost a year (51 weeks to be exact) I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t just laugh off the loss and accept that things like that happen. The thing is, these things don’t happen except to the Leafs. Teams don’t lose 6-5 after having a 5-1 lead against the worst team in the NHL. Team’s don’t lose to emergency back up goaltenders, especially ones on their own payroll, and while we’re at it, other teams don’t blow 4-1 leads in a game seven. These are things that only the Leafs are capable of. While they don’t have a Stanley Cup banner, perhaps Toronto needs to start putting up banners for spectacular losses, because they are absolutely amazing.
It’s because of this tendency to fail spectacularly that I don’t think it’s possible to ever feel confidence in the Leafs. They’ve built one of the best offensive cores in the league with Matthews, Marner, Tavares, they’ve seeming addressed their defensive issues, and for …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A Walk-Around Tour of the NHL bubble in Toronto

“I’ve never seen any fencing up in Toronto with the words ‘Stanley Cup Playoffs’.” I said to my naive self before remembering that the Maple Leafs have been in the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. Yes, it’s been that long.
As the return of NHL hockey inches closer and closer, there’s more and more being blocked off around the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton.

A look at the NHL’s “secure zone” in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/MB1yP1opPb
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 24, 2020

It’s both an exciting and eerie time for hockey. 24 teams are expected to fly into their perspective hub cities today and must be there by Sunday, according to the NHL.
With players not knowing what to expect, it makes this Return-to-Play plan more interesting once the players arrive in their bubbles.
And as much as I want to say that construction has gotten underway, that’s not really the right word to use for this situation.
The fences are up — so far.
Each day, there’s more that’s done to shield the players from …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: Nylander deserves to be a part of the Big Four

In the past, I’ve had “hot takes”. Well, this is what I’m going to call a “stupid hot take”, in that it’s only a hot take if you’re stupid. Now, I don’t mean that as a “if you disagree with me, you’re stupid” kind of stupid. What I mean is “if you miss what I’m arguing here, you’ll think it’s a hot take, and that is why you’re stupid” kind of stupid.
So, just to clarify with the headline, I’m not saying that William Nylander is better than Auston Matthews, John Tavares, or Mitch Marner. In fact, I’ll get this out of the way right now: I think he’s the fourth best player of this group.
What I do think is that he should always be looked at as a part of that group, as opposed to the next best forward after the big three. Too often, I hear the conversation as:
When it should probably be:

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Forget the PHWA, Our writers correctly select the winners for the NHL Awards

I’ve never really been one for the NHL Awards, but here we are in the middle of a pause waiting to see if we’ll get hockey games in August of all months. If that isn’t enough reason to start caring I don’t know what is. We’ve also saved you the trouble of arguing about the award decisions online because our decision is 100% right and there is no need for debate.
For contents sake we’ve also picked the Leaf player most deserving of some of the awards as well. I didn’t ask the other writers about who in the Leafs organization would win the Vezina because I assume everyone would naturally agree that it’s David Ayres.

League Pick
Leafs Pick

Mark Norman

Nick DeSouza

Nick Richard

Scott Maxwell

Totally Offside

Jon Steitzer

Brendan Mori

Cam Lewis

League Winner: Nathan MacKinnon
Leafs Winner: Auston Matthews
Well, I guess the fact that we all agreed on Matthews isn’t really a big surprise but MacKinnon vs. Panarin is …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

My Story: Trying to Break Into Hockey (Media) as a Person of Colour

I’ve always received jokes from friends and coworkers asking me how I’m such a big hockey fan, being a brown male who follows such a white sport so closely. To be honest, it’s because the sport is so complex and incredibly fun to play. It’s how I’ve developed friendships. My closest friends are those who played hockey with me, whether it’s on a frozen sheet of ice or on a large paved area of asphalt. The amazing thing is that a majority of those close friends from hockey aren’t white.
But the sport that I’ve always tried to professionally crack into is, and that’s what has been problematic for me.
Since I have struggled to find my way into the industry, I have wanted to tell my story about perseverance of trying to make it into the hockey industry, whether it’s in media, or in a hockey related position. Here’s my story.
I have always been told, make connections and you’ll find your way in. Since the end of my first year of university, I have …

Read More

Author: Matthew Henriques / The Leafs Nation

Reopening Risks: The Realities of Return to Play

I’ve had genuine dreams about the NHL returning to play games again – they used to entail the Leafs making a dramatic playoff run through Boston and Tampa, but now a 10pm snoozer against Anaheim would be enough to get me excited. While details remain pretty sparse, the league has formed a Return to Play Committee to discuss what resuming play would look like, and rumors have swirled of possible locations and guidelines for the new normal.
The problem is a complex one for the NHL, which has teams playing in 18 different locales, meaning 18 different plans and restrictions for reopening. This is besides the fact that the leaders in America and Canada have different ideas about bringing sports back (you can take a guess who is on the more cautious side).
Given the state of affairs and the variance in impact from the coronavirus by geography, a future return could look vastly different from what we’re used to. Below is a chart of cases as of May 4th by State and Province – giving you of an idea of the differences.
*Please make note of the log scale used for the y axis values (100 -> 1,000 …

Read More

Author: mackinawstats / The Leafs Nation